COVID-19: UNILAG shuts halls of residence indefinitely, reverts to virtual learning

To avoid escalation of COVID-19 cases at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), the authorities, yesterday, shut down the hostels effective today till further notice and ordered students to vacate campus.

This followed the panic ignited by Tuesday’s report that more than six students from Honors, Moremi and Amina hostels reportedly contracted coronavirus and were sent to an isolation center. The development led the school management to convey an emergency Senate meeting yesterday.

The students were also advised to move all their personal effects at once. As of press time, students were seen packing their bags to go home.

Authorities also confirmed there has been a recent increase in the number of persons within the university community, who have presented with symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

In a statement yesterday, the University Senate, after the emergency meeting approved that all students vacate the halls of residence by 12noon today indefinitely. It also added that contact tracing has enabled them to identify those who have had exposure to the affected students and directed them to self-isolate immediately.

The statement reads: “The University of Lagos commenced physical classes at the end of May 2021 when the positivity rate of the infection dropped to about one per cent. The university management continued to enforce the COVID-19 protocols in all the teaching and learning spaces as well as the halls of residence.

“In addition, the COVID-19 vaccination was made available to the staff and students through the support of the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council. Lately, some students have tested positive. These students have been sent to the appropriate designated facilities in the state and contact tracing has enabled us to identify those who have had exposure and directed them to isolate. The situation is, indeed, worrisome especially noting the reluctance of the majority of students to comply with the COV1D-19 prevention protocols.”

Sources within the school equally confirmed receiving a Whatsapp broadcast message from the Dean of Students Affairs (DSA), Mr Ademola Adeleke, informing them to leave the school’s hostels. “Lectures for the rest of the semester will be delivered virtually with effect from July 26, 2021,” the message added.

COVID-19 cases have continued to soar in Nigeria amid concerns over the resurgence of a third wave of the pandemic. New cases have surged in recent times, climbing to 1,249 between July 1 and 13, with Lagos being the epicenter of the spread.

Lagos recorded 119 cases on Tuesday, representing 77 per cent of the total cases recorded on the day, 154, while 166 cases were confirmed in the country on Monday. The new cases take the total tally in the country to 168,867 with the number of active cases surging to 2,119 patients. A cursory look at the data from Worldometer shows Nigeria currently stands ninth on the ranking of African countries with the highest cases of coronavirus.

Although Nigeria detected the first case of the deadly Delta variant last week, the NCDC report does not indicate if the new cases are of the new strain.

Despite fears over spike in cases, many Nigerians have abandoned safety protocols recommended by health authorities. Transporters are carrying passengers in full capacity. In public places across the country, citizens have jettisoned the adoption of safety measures such as washing of hands and the use of facemasks.

IN a related development, the management of the Lagos State University (LASU), through the Coordinator, Centre for Information, Press and Public Relations, Mr Ademola Adekoya, explained the various steps put in place by the management to prevent the spread of the pandemic in a statement titled, ‘‘A potential third wave of COVID-19 pandemic: Management mandates compliance with protocols.’’

“The University Management, therefore, mandates all members of LASU community to adhere to all the preventive protocols as designed by NCDC to curtail any spread. The measures include: Compulsory and proper use of facemask in public places, regular handwashing with soap and water or use of alcohol-based sanitizer, maintenance of physical distance of two meters, maintenance of 50 per cent occupancy rate of halls, classrooms, offices, worship centers, etc, and temperature checks at entrances.

“The entrances to the campuses already have water taps for handwashing by all visitors and students. Infrared thermometers and alcohol-based sanitizers had been distributed to all faculties and center. Students are also enjoined to make provisions for personal facemasks and hand sanitizers to further enhance the efforts of the University Management.”

MEANWHILE, Ogun State Government said it has recorded 15 new cases of the Delta variant within the month of July. The Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, made this known in a statement issued yesterday in Abeokuta.

She lamented the rise in the number of cases within the month compared to having only two cases in June. She explained that four patients are currently receiving treatments at one of the isolation centers in the state, which according to her was practically empty in the last one month.

The Commissioner, who confirmed that two new deaths were equally recorded, advised residents to adhere strictly to public health and social measures.

Coker said it had become imperative for government to curtail the spread of the virus among the people. This, she said was necessary considering the fact that eight out of 20 local government areas in the state share border with Lagos.

As Muslim faithful prepare to mark this year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebrations next week, the NCDC has warned against trips that characterize the festival. NCDC Head of Risk Communications Division, Dr Yahya Disu, handed down the warning yesterday.

Disu said the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic started in Nigeria because people travelled for Christmas last December. He, therefore, urged Nigerians to avoid unnecessary trips as Sallah celebrations hold next week.

Following reports of third wave of the pandemic, Osun State government has warned its residents and citizens of the consequences of disregarding safety protocols and non-pharmaceutical guidelines against the disease.

In a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs Funke Egbemode , yesterday, the government enjoined citizens to continue to take personal responsibility for their own safety, adding that non-adherence to safety protocols among citizens may produce unpleasant outcomes.

“The government of the State of Osun is advising its residents not to let down their guard or be lured into a false sense of security that the world is totally out of the grips of COVID-19.”

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